There has been a subdued battle between what is considered the “best renewable source of energy”, and the extent of its sustainability. One thing is for sure: with the current rise in global warming over the past decades, we aren’t exactly getting a shortage of sun. In theory, solar energy makes a lot more sense that hydroelectric power in the sense that the sun will not be going away anytime soon. Wells and dams, however, do come with the possibility of drying up or flooding. An exception exists for those living in Nunavut or Iceland who may not experience an abundance of sunlight (in which case, sorry folks! nothing personal!). As a result, I advocate for the use of solar panels everywhere.
Strawberry Energy is a young Serbian company that is motivated by a simple vision: to make renewable energy sources more accessible to all people (http://senergy.rs/). “The Strawberry Tree” is a solar charger for portable devices, which is permanently installed in busy public places, such as streets, parks and squares. By harnessing the energy of the sun, it enables passers to charge their mobile devices when they need it most –far from home and with an empty battery. The maximum charging interval is fifteen minutes and the solar panels have rechargeable batteries so that energy is stored even after the sun goe
s down. The whole idea is that people take away a bit of sunshine in their pockets (which is such beautiful imagery).
The decision to name it after a bushel fruit was because the “strawberry is a plant that ripens first in the spring and, in the same way, we are trying to share our dreams firstly with our personal surroundings and then with the whole world”. Not only are they trying to tap into the worlds natural resources, but the secondary initiative was to create “strawberry parks” so that those who need to charge their devices may interact with each other (see site for more pictures). The Strawberry Trees have been set up in three different eastern European countries already, installed in about seven different cities in Serbia, and there are plans to have it installed in Slovenia. Their invention led to them being awarded the special “Green Star” award for the contribution to the environmental protection by Ecotopia Fond in February 2013.
It is these types of simple, effective concepts that literally bring people closer together and create a happier greener environment. One could imagine, that this invention would be most useful during concerts, family outings, etc,. not to mention it gives you an excuse to introduce yourself to someone new without it being awkward and weird (five star rating if you ask me!).